Few strategies (of marketing, messaging and community engagement) have dazzled me more than those of One Laptop per Child’s (OLPC) XO Giving program.
Shaped by MIT Media Lab guru Nicholas Negroponte, OLPC aims get laptops to kids around the world — despite lack of power, money or the host of other barriers in the way. Ultimately, OLPC is striving to provide children with "new opportunities to explore, experiment and express themselves," and has developed the XO-1 laptop as a means to "learn about learning."
Now that would be a great idea even if it didn’t go any further. But Negraponte and team pushed to deliver the laptops as cheaply as possible. When government orders for XO-1–as well as the price point of $188–failed to meet expectations, Negroponte quickly modified his U.S. sales plan, launching OLPC through which XO-1 laptops will be sold at $400 per computer.
This Give 1 Get 1 program uses funds from each U.S. sale to provide a student in a developing nation with an XO-1 laptop at no cost. Its a community engagement and donation-generation strategy for the ages, and here’s why you nonprofit marketers need to listen up:
- The only way to get this product (which is the computer we’ve all been waiting for for our kids), is to give one. Enforced philanthropy, but it’s fun.
- To give and get, hopeful buyers need to sign up for an e-alert service (so OLPC grabs their contact info for future solicitations, ongoing engagement, forwarding to a friend, etc.)
- Only 25,000 orders will be taken for Christmas delivery, ensuring that many folks will jump on board to be one of the first. Limited editions pique interest.
- Kids are getting, and giving (even if via their parents), so it’s a great giving education opportunity.
The best nonprofit marketing comes from having to fix a problem. Necessity and urgency led Negroponte and his team this absolutely original, practical, story-making strategy; a fix for the records.
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